Friday, April 23, 2010

A Wedding to Remember

Joanna married Rory Grayson against her mother's wishes when she was 19. After supporting him financially for seven years, Rory is accused of impregnating one of his employees. Joanna leaves him and returns home to her mother. Three years on, Joanna has been dating her boss, Brad, who has proposed to her. She decides to see Rory one last time before making up her mind. Passion flairs between Rory and Joanna once again and she agrees to spending a dirty weekend in his apartment with him (while deciding mentally that she can't marry Brad after all).

I really wasn't sure how I felt about this book. It started off great, but became far too realistic for me towards the end. It is finally revealed that Rory was innocent of infidelity all along, but Joanna's willingness to believe the other woman's claim was due to existing problems in their relationship. These problems are never addressed. Rory and Joanna end up reconciling with her family and getting married, but is this really their happily ever after? Rory never tells Joanna that he loves her; I guess his actions are supposed to be enough, but it's really below the par for a romance novel hero. I never really got the sense that Rory and Joanna have sorted out the past and really committed themselves to the future. It just felt like they have a big fancy wedding and that's pretty much it.

Rory admits to Joanna that he's had women since their divorce. I know it's unrealistic to think that he wouldn't but I just don't like seeing this in romance novels. In a way it wasn't too bad here since Joanna herself has been sleeping with Brad (I hate it when the heroine is celibate because she's been pining away for the hero for years, but he happily plays the field with all and sundry). What I didn't like was that Joanna knew about his other women because he gives her a bathrobe to use which he keeps in his apartment for his women. That's just tacky. Not only that, but Rory created Joanna's dream home to live in, and that's where he's had these other women. It just doesn't gel that he'd have sex with other women in her dream home before he's even brought her there.

Joanna assumes that Rory's employee Monique is his lover. This is based on the fact that she shows up unexpectedly during their dirty weekend, she's familiar with Rory's bedroom and sleeping habits, she automatically acts as hostess in Rory's home, offering drinks to people etc, and finally when Joanna shows up unexpectedly one morning, Monique is there in her pajamas. All these things are explained of course, but the explanations don't really make sense to me. Turns out Monique is happily married and lives next door to Rory. Her husband made a painting that Rory bought and hung in his bedroom (which apparently explains to Joanna why Monique is familiar with the bedroom, but doesn't explain things to me at all). The morning she was there in her pajamas, her husband was also there, because they were having breakfast with Rory. Do people really normally have breakfast with their neighbours in their pajamas? Not in my world. Even if you were to go to your neighbour's place for breakfast, I would expect you to get dressed first. Oh, and showing up during the dirty weekend - apparently she arrived with champagne to congratulate Rory and Joanna on their reconciliation. What kind of "friend" would show up at a time like that? Most people would realise that the couple in question would want privacy. Anyway, the whole Monique thing was just weird to me. Obviously she was put there to give Joanna someone to be insanely jealous about thus angering Rory for not trusting him. I agree that Joanna is a little unreasonable, but I've got to say Monique's behaviour was hardly normal.

Brad turns out to be rather self-serving and unlovable. He wants a wife who will be able to help his career. He isn't in love with Joanna, and she isn't in love with him, so the reader doesn't mind when they break up. The author obviously wanted him to get a happily ever after anyway, and he ends up marrying Joanna's friend Poppy. Poppy is such a close friend of Joanna's that when Joanna decides to leave home and needs somewhere to stay, Poppy happily takes her in on the spot. Even so, when Joanna leaves her she doesn't even keep in touch beyond sending a letter to invite her to her wedding. So good friends don't deserve phone calls? Well, since Poppy is happy to marry Brad, knowing that he's been in a long term sexual relationship with Joanna, maybe she doesn't feel that close to Joanna either. At any rate, it seems pretty poor form to marry off Poppy to a guy who doesn't love her. Rory concludes that by the time they have their second child, Brad will probably come to appreciate all that Poppy will have done for him. Huh? Not much of a happily ever after.

Overall I guess the ending of this book made me feel quite ambivalent. I didn't hate it, but I definitely didn't like it either.

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